Where To Find Your Inner Adrenaline Junkie In Africa?
Think of travel to Africa and a 4×4 safari is always the first thing that springs to mind, but the available activities on this continent are as diverse as the landscapes.
Cape Town, South Africa – Hike Table Mountain
Table Mountain is undoubtedly Cape Town’s most iconic landmark. Towering over South Africa’s Mother City at a staggering 1,088 metres it is a truly impressive sight, and a hikers paradise if you’re willing to traverse the often challenging pathways. You can choose from routes of varying difficulty, the Pipe Track (a favourite with locals) accessible from the Atlantic side. Once you reach the summit you have the option of booking a 112 metre controlled descent and abseiling down one of the natural wonders of the world. At the very top you are 1,000 metres above sea level (the world’s highest commercial abseilling point) and surrounded by incredible scenery and the Atlantic below.
Durban, South Africa: Big Rush Swing
Known as South Africa’s playground, and also claiming the title of Surf City, Durban excels when it comes to making the most of the outdoors. Its golden sands stretch from the main harbour in the south to the upmarket suburb of Umhlanga in the north, exhilarating horseback rides taking you across the beautiful Reunion beach. For something a little more adrenaline pumping, head for Moses Mabhida Stadium. Site of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, this is the world’s only stadium swing, the ‘Big Rush’ (officially named the world’s tallest swing by the Guinness Book of Records) allowing you to take a thrilling leap 106 metres above the pitch and swing out in a huge 220 meter arc under the arch.
Swakopmund, Namibia: Tandem Sky Diving & Fat Tire Biking
Situated on Namibia’s west coast is Swakopmund. It might look like a quiet coastal town, but get past the charming colonial architecture and you’ll find there is a much more racy side to the sleepy hamlet, as this is Namibia’s adventure capital. With several adrenaline fuelled activities available here including, sand boarding, quad biking and kayaking among the seals (at Walvis Bay), you should leave yourself with a couple of days to enjoy all the town has to offer.
The Namib Desert (the world’s oldest) is where all the action takes place, the dunes rising up and peaking at around 300 metres. To see the beauty of the red desert landscape from the skies book a tandem sky dive, the heart pumping pursuit complete with a 35 minute scenic flight over the area (the plane climbing to 10,000 feet); a 30–35 second free fall at a speed of roughly 220 kilometres per hour before your parachute opens, and a five to eight minute descent.
One of the latest and most ecological ways to explore the desert’s delicate habitat, is fat tire biking – the tires’ wider contact area meaning the tracks are far shallower than footprints.
Livingstone, Zambia : White Water Rafting
Livingstone, Zambia is known as the adventure capital of Southern Africa. With the Zambezi River’s rapids given names such as The Terminator and The Washing Machine you’ll have some ready made insight on what to expect. Dividing Zimbabwe and Zambia, the river squeezes through a narrow gorge, its 120 kilometres home to the biggest sequence of Grade V whitewater rapids in the world. The activity is classified by the British Canoe Union as Grade 5 – the adventure including “extremely difficult, long and violent rapids, steep gradients, big drops and pressure areas”.
Tsitsikamma, South Africa: Bloukrans Bridge Bungy
The 216 metre Bloukrans Bridge bungy on South Africa’s Western Cape, has A list appeal, Jack Osborne and Prince Harry just some of the big names who have signed up for the highest commercial natural bungee jump in the world. If you’re prepared to look down, you’ll find the Bloukrans river several hundred feet below you, or if you’re in need of a bit of dutch courage head for a pint at Cliffhanger pub, the watering hole overlooking the bridge.
Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe: Rhino Walking Safari
Africa even does heart racing safaris, where you’ll be out in the open without the comfort of a 4×4 to shield you from the wild. That in itself makes this activty a rush, but when you’re eye to eye with a ten tonne rhino its both awe-inspiring and adrenaline charged, especially when you consider the stats: rhinos can weigh up to 3,500kg and run at an average of 28mph over 100m (compared to a human’s maximum of 23mph).
Unquestionably, one of Africa’s hidden gems, Matobo is impressive partly because of the scenery: its huge granite boulders balancing precariously on one another and seeming to defy gravity, and partly because of its wildlife: this, one of the best places anywhere in Africa to see both ‘black’ and ‘white’ rhino.
Bazaruto archipelago, Mozambique: Drift Diving
They say the Mozambique is home to some of Africa’s best beaches, but its the country’s underwater opportunities that are really caputuring the attantion of travellers. Vilanculos, is known as the gateway to the Bazaruto archipelago, a world-renowned, but still off-the-beaten-path, diving haunt.
The archipelago and its surrounding coral reefs were declared a national park in 1971, these reefs supporting 2,000 species of fish, along with whale sharks, giant lobsters, humpback whales, turtles and dolphins. Magaruque is a small island lying just ten kilometres east of the mainland so it’s easy to include in a one-day trip and the waters are literally teeming with life. Here you’ll find a stone reef (not coral like in Zanzibar), which has an excellent vertical rock drop off. Drift dive territory, this is flippering up on steriods, so get ready to be swept up by the powerful current, your fins acting as breaks.
Fat bike tours (c) swakopfatbiketours.com
Sky-diving, Swakopmund (c) AfricaFreak.com
White water rafting, Zambezi
Waterfront Cape Town with view of Table Mountain
Rhino walking safari, Matobo NP, Zimbabwe